One day, while the emergency department at Bon Secours Southampton Memorial Hospital was humming with activity, Shannon Pittman, RN, helped calm a patient who was having difficulty breathing. Shannon wouldn’t find out until later how much her compassion meant to the woman who showed up that day alone.
Rick McClenny, one of our quality managers, passed along the patient’s appreciation through our ministry’s internal recognition program.
“This patient recognized you on social media,” Rick explains in his note. “She said that your calming voice and direction to slow her breathing, as you held her hand, truly helped her become more relaxed and control her breathing. The patient stated you were her angel that day and you were amazing!”
With 22 years in health care, the last six in emergency departments, Shannon realizes it was her compassion that meant more to this patient than any medical treatment she could offer.
“She was having an anxiety attack, thought she was dying and crying ‘help me!’” Shannon recalls. “Some patients you just don’t leave.”
Shannon will soon graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Her goal is to become a family nurse practitioner.
She started her medical career as a certified nurse assistant, then went to nursing school. As a registered nurse, Shannon rotated through medical-surgical and other units before applying to a former employer’s emergency department. While she admits to mental strain from the role, she also loves it.
“I like the fast pace and helping multiple people in a day,” Shannon explains. “I feel I’m making a difference in more lives. And you never know what’s going to come in the door. So, I guess it’s the excitement of the unknown. You’re always learning something new. Every patient is different, every situation is different.”
It seems Shannon has mastered the compassionate part of nursing. Earlier this year, she received a Core Culture Award along with 45 other team members across our ministry.
Shannon appreciates the recognition but shares “that’s just being a nurse: being a kind, caring person.”
And she knows her colleagues would do the same.
“I’ve very blessed to work with my team,” she adds.
Looking back on 22 years in health care, including the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Shannon says she’s most proud of the caring attitude she’s brought to work all along.
“Sometimes this job wears on you,” she admits. “But you still care about your patients.”
Learn about the emergency care services we offer a Bon Secours.